Saturday, November 5, 2011

Intelligent Women & Depression


Based in Kissimmee, Fla., Barb Nefer is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. She is a mental health counselor, finance coach and travel agency owner. Her work has appeared in such magazines as "The Writer" and "Grit" and she authored the book, "So You Want to Be a Counselor."
Intelligent Women & Depressionthumbnail
Intelligence and depression have some interplay in women.
Depression is a major problem in America. The National Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH, reports that depression strikes about 14.8 million adults annually, with women more likely than men to develop a major depressive disorder. A certain type of intelligence has been shown by studies to prevent depression while another type helps make counseling more effective.
  1. Intelligence

    • There are different types of intelligence. The term is most often associated with intellectual ability and measured by standardized exams such as intelligence quotient (IQ) tests. People with high IQs are generally thought of as "smart" with an ability to do well at tasks that take brain power.
      The University of New Hampshire explains there is another type called emotional intelligence. This refers to a person's ability to recognize and understand their emotions and to adjust their reactions. This helps them function more effectively.

    Depression

    • Depression is an emotional disorder that affects a person's daily activities and functioning. It is often associated with sadness, but it extends beyond normal, temporary grief from losses and other negative life experiences. HelpGuide.org, a mental health site, explains depression is long-lasting and has such symptoms as sleep disturbance, constant feelings of hopelessness, problems concentrating, irritability, crying spells and eating too much or too little.

    Effects

    • New York researchers from the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University found depression can adversely affect people with high intelligence. Their 1992 study, published in the "Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology," showed verbal intelligence is not lowered, but performance intelligence drops sharply in both women and men suffering from depression. Women are two to three times more likely to suffer from depression than men, according to Society for Women's Health Research, so they are more vulnerable to its effects on intelligence.

    Correlation

    • Studies show there is a correlation between women with high emotional intelligence and depression. They tend to have lower depression rates because they have better control of their feelings and how they respond to negative emotions. A 2006 study by David Pizarro of the University of Irvine, California, with several colleagues showed adolescents with high emotional intelligence were more resistant to both anxiety and depression. In this study, 130 females were included. Peter Salovey, a Yale researcher who conducted many studies with students of both sexes over a multi-year period, discovered those with low emotional intelligence were much more prone to depression.

    Treatment

    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often used by counselors treating depression, HelpGuide.org explains. This therapy helps sufferers recognize and change negative thought and behavior patterns. It can be especially effective for women with high intellect because their mental abilities allow them to quickly grasp and incorporate the depression-fighting concepts.
      Effective treatment is critically important because, as NIMH warns, depressed women try to commit suicide two to three times as frequently as men.

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